When a patient first learns that they have a serious healthcare problem, they seem to lose their ability to think.
Cognition fails as fear hijacks their brains.
To avoid this problem of dumb and dumber, I always suggest that a patient bring along a friend or relative or advocate. They can depend on this person to listen, to take notes, to ask questions and to think ahead.
So instead of going it alone, bring someone with you to the meetings with the doctors and nurses.
Doctors are often rushed and impatient. They are intelligent and don’t tolerate fools well. So this someone can improve the doctor-patient interaction and avoid frustration by both patient and doctor.
Eventually, when the patient’s brain returns from being hijacked, he/she can debrief with this someone and start to process what he/she has been told and what is likely to happen next.
Best for the patient to avoid this dumb and dumber scenario by bringing along someone to help with the thinking.